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The Pouncing Lions are a rare Aspect that has only a foothold on a few Craftworlds. Its adherents revere the favourite predator beasts of Khaine, the White Lions of mythology, who are said to be the most ferocious creatures in the galaxy. They mimic the fighting style the Lions are legendarily said to practise on the hunt, relying on their skill and speed to encircle the prey with their numbers before pouncing at the jugular, ripping the heart of the prey in one swift strike. As it is, they are among the fiercest and most skill reliant of the Aspects, relying on brutal strength as much as subtle tactics. They resort to less technology to augment their strength in battle, depending instead on inborn traits and pure skill. In order to gain such skill, they actually go to the extent of hunting the rare White Lions that exist on Exodite Worlds, practising their skills of warfare and honing their strength through the hunting and engaging of these powerful animals. Some Craftworlds are even known to rear these beasts exclusively for the training of the Pouncing Lions. These creatures are not the mythical Lions of Eldar mythology, rather they are creatures that are named for the similarities they share with their namesake, and are not native to the Exodite Worlds, like the Dragons. They were introduced as a counter to the monstrous Dragons, another artificially introduced species, as a foil to the other, so one will hunt the other and that both may not grow to numbers that will overrun the natural populace with their brutal strength, being natural aliens among the existing fauna.
Pouncing Lion: WS4 BS4 S3 T3 A1 W1 I5 L9 AS4+
Exarch: WS5 BS5 S3 T3 A2 W1 I6 L9 AS4+
Point Cost: 23/35
Unit Size: 5-10
Wargear: Lion Claws, Lion Pelt, Bloodeye Helm
Armoury of Vaul:
Lion Claws ~ White Lions
The Lion Claws are built into the arms of the Pouncing Lion's armour, the part of it observable being five long, thin metallic claws protruding from the backside of the wrist of the wielder. These claws are also known as White Lions, for their reflective, metallic sheen. What is not apparent is the inlaid mesh cells that keep the claws in a constant state of tension. With but a single thought and flick of the wrist, the mesh musculature contracts, causing the Lion Claws to dig into the flesh of the enemy with critical force, rending the flesh and puncturing severe wounds right past the outer shell and into the muscle tissue of the victim. These wounds inflicted more or less always leave the enemy maimed or severely injured. Thus, the Pouncing Lions are unrivalled in the role of killing enemies who are able to resist dire wounds without succumbing.
Lion Claws confer Rending, and multiplies each Unsaved Wound into two Wounds for each Attack made by the Pouncing Lion. In addition, the Lion Claws count as a pair of close combat weapons and grant a bonus Attack. Although on single Wound models, the 2 Wounds caused for each Unsaved Wound does no benefit and only has relevance against enemies with multiple Wounds, the extra Wounds caused do affect the Combat Resolution, to represent the ferocity of the goring inflicted by the Lion Claws.
Lion Pelt ~ Bound Drive
As per the traditions of this Aspect Shrine, upon slaying their first White Lion as a rite of initiation, the Pouncing Lion will wear its fur skin as a pelt. Thus the armour of the Pouncing Lions is the Lion Pelt, and the huge head of the White Lion with its flowing mane gives the Lions a regal and imposing mien. The flowing mane has a practical purpose, softening blows to the vulnerable areas of a Pouncing Lion's neck and head. Like all Aspect Armours, the Lion Pelt as it is called incorporates a Drive, called the Bound Drive, a variant of the Momentum Drive of the Howling Banshee, exchanging momentum for shock factor on the charge. At the moment of the leap from the Pouncing Lions running charge, the leg musculature of the armour stiffens, while an inertia open system forces the Pouncing Lion in a bounding leap forward, literally allowing the Lions to pounce on their enemy. The Lions are able to make an unpredictable but potentially lethal bound, reaching the target with a preemptory strike that surprises and leaves the enemy wavering. There is a risk to this gamble however, as should the Lions not make the distance between them and the enemy, they are left exposed in full view before the enemy, who though startled by the sudden, sharp advance, would have sufficient time to recover and mount a counter reprisal.
The Lion confers a 4+AS to its bearer, that is improved to a 3+AS against Close Combat Attacks.
The Pouncing Lion has a Charge Distance of 12", like Calvary. The Bound Drive confers the Surprise Assault Special Rule, which grants +1A and +1I on the Charge, and enemy units suffer a -1 modifier to their Leadership for Morale Checks taken for losing an Assault from Pouncing Lions on the Charge.
Bloodeye Helm ~ Lionesque Reflexes
The Bloodeye Helm of the Pouncing Lions, the one device in their armoury that replicates the superhuman reaction speeds of the White Lions. The White Lions can detect movement speeds in their visual spectrum up to nine times faster than an average human, or three times faster than an Eldar. How the Bloodeye Helm works is by processing movements that appear within its visual receptacles with a heightened reflex rate of ten times that of an average human, in effect turning the movements of the Pouncing Lions even faster than that of a White Lion. The Pouncing Lions use this increased alacrity to strike the weak points of the enemy's body several times in a single second. Often times this is the bloody jugular, and with sufficient speed in a blur of movement, the enemy's blood is splattered before the Bloodeye Helm.
For each Attack you choose to lose, the remaining Attacks of the Pouncing Lions increases in Strength by 1 and gains a +1 to-Hit modifier that is accumulative.
Aspect Skills of Khaine:
A single Pouncing Lion may have slayed several White Lions throughout his long life, while an Exarch's death count numbers unsightly amounts. Each of these slayings are a near death experience that a less skilled warrior would fall to. Indeed, countless warriors of Pouncing Lions have been casualties of these endeavours, but those who survive become supremely expert at dealing critical blows to large creatures. Against Calvary, Beast and Monstrous Creatures, the Pouncing Lions have the Preferred Enemy Special Rule, meaning they require no less than a 3+ to-Hit.
The Pouncing Lions hone their skills by hunting the White Lions of the Exodite Worlds, and doing so have thus become at home with moving through thick foliage in search of tracks. Pouncing Lions ignore Cover while Moving through trees, forests, woods and jungles.
Pouncing Lions establish their way of warfare after the hunting patterns of the White Lions, their namesake. Like how the White Lions approach their prey, they will split into lesser "prides" in an encircling movement around the enemy, one pride leading the advance into a pincer attack. While one engages to the front, the other ensures that the enemy is cut off from retreat by the rear. The Pouncing Lions may split into groups of 5 Warriors at any time during the Movement Phase, Moving separately from each other and encircling the foe. The second group of warriors not led by the Exarch will attempt to strike the chosen enemy unit from behind, gaining +1A on the Charge if they manage to do so. In addition, should the unit break from both Assaults made on them by the Pouncing Lions, they are immediately wiped out, without the need for a Sweeping Advance.
Phoenix Powers of Asuryan:
Exarchs are known among the Pouncing Lions for being exceptionally ferocious on the charge, fighting with a momentum that only increases with the pace of the battle. +15Pts for the Exarch. For each Unsaved Wound caused on the Turn of the Assault by the Pouncing Lions, the Pouncing Lions gain a further Attack.
Mimicking the ear-shattering roar of the White Lions, their namesake, the Lion Exarch is capable of letting loose a terrifying roar that shatters the morale of enemy troops in proximity. +10Pts for the Exarch. Upon the Exarch passing a Leadership Test in the Shooting Phase, any enemy units required to take a Morale Test within 12" of the Pouncing Lion Exarch are subject to a -1 Leadership modifier. In addition, if this power is used when locked in an Assault, enemy models in base contact with the Exarch suffer -1WS and -1I.